January 14th, 2014

art, collage

Mostly about my current collage project

The magnolias started blooming a few days ago, which means the cherry blossoms will be next. It's a nice time of year for tree-watching.

I've been walking a lot. Vertigo every day, but not terrible enough to really stop me from doing anything. Not too much nausea lately, which has been nice. I still haven't received the new lab order from the nephrologist, but am expecting it in the mail any day.

I seem to have filled up the earring rack I got for Christmas last year. This is what comes of an Etsy obsession. I bought a lot of earrings with Christmas money and 10x10 award money. I'm very fond of earrings right now.

I'm working on a new art project that is taking me a lot of time. Katy (the art teacher at CWC) handed out these big canvases (maybe 18"x18") and suggested that people draw their "spirit animal," whatever they imagine that to be. I immediately thought of elephants and polar bears, which have been my two favorite animals lately (though I do still harbor a deep and abiding love for frogs, geckos, and turtles), though I don't think of either of them as my "spirit animal." (I cringe when I even think those words. So very New Age. So overused. So culturally appropriated in what feels like a blithely imperialistic way.)

But it made me start thinking about doing a collage inspired by this photo I'd seen of a mother elephant with a very small baby elephant, not because it was elephants, but because I liked the sense of protection, safety, love, security, comfort, whatever that I got from the photo. So maybe my "spirit animal" is a protector. But it got me thinking about how to express the basic feeling that I get from that photo of the elephants, just discarding the "spirit animal" thing, and I got all inspired to do another collage made entirely of text on different colored backgrounds, cut from magazines, like the self-portrait I did last year, except that this time I'm collaging the entire background, as well, instead of using a base of acrylic paint like I did that time. The background is going to be sky: black in the center at the bottom, but gradually fading in an arc through different shades of blue until it reaches a light blue at the top and right edges.

So, anyway, I've spent several hours in the last week scouring dozens of magazines for appropriate magazine text (nothing trying to sell anything, nothiing about genocide or extinction, nothing really depressing, nothing I actively disagree with, etc. -- I don't need every tiny snippet of text to be on-topic or anything, but I don't want to include anything that really goes against my emotional intention for the collage) in appropriate colors, or trimming magazine snippets (mostly from National Geographic) to get rid of the "white space," or sorting magazine snippets by color, or pasting magazine snippets on the canvas with soft acrylic gel medium, or scraping dried acrylic gel medium off of my fingers. This acrylic gel medium stuff is nearly impossible to get rid of once it's dried. I think some of it is just going to have to wear off my fingers over time.

I've got about 3/4 of the background done at this point, but I still haven't even decided exactly what the image in the foreground is going to be. Possibly two elephants -- mother and baby -- but possibly something else communicating the same emotion. Possibly human mother and child, possibly a more abstract representation of the protection and security concept. I know what I want to convey with the image, but not yet what the image is actually going to look like. For now, I'm focusing on pasting little bits of background into appropriate formations to form a gradual face from black to light blue. It's meditative.